After trying for years now to avoid testifying in a defamation case related to a rape allegation by the writer E. Jean Carroll, Donald Trump will sit for a deposition next week, a federal judge on Wednesday ordered.
“The defendant should not be permitted to run the clock out on plaintiff’s attempt to gain a remedy for what allegedly was a serious wrong,” Judge Lewis A. Kaplan wrote in his decision. The wrong is a reference to a 2019 essay published by Carroll in New York, in which she alleged that Trump sexually assaulted her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in 1994. Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 26 women, denied the allegation, saying in a subsequent interview that “she’s not my type.” Carroll then sued for defamation over the denial, seeking unspecified damages and a retraction of his statement.
The deposition next Wednesday will be the second in three months for Trump, who pleaded the Fifth several hundred times when he was asked by New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office about his alleged pattern of business fraud. While it’s likely that he’ll do so again next week, Carroll has previously said that she intends to be there when he is deposed under oath. “I am living for the moment to walk into that room to sit across the table from him,” she said last year. “I think of it every day.”
During his presidency, Trump’s legal team stopped the case from moving forward by claiming that he denied the allegation as part of his official capacity as president and was personally immune from a defamation charge. If accepted by the court, this argument — which was supported by the Biden Justice Department — would mean that the federal government would be the defendant in the case. The appeal remains ongoing.